December 2008

Three on probation over sex messages to 14-year-old

Three men have been placed on probation for sending sexual messages to a girl of 14 who posted topless pictures of herself on the internet.

The girl received a flood of responses from all over the country after calling herself “The Edinburgh Whore” on the Faceparty website.

A number of men were charged as a result, including Michael Henderson, 32, Colin Holmes, 25, and Barron Wright, 20.

They all pled guilty to communicating in a sexual manner over the internet with a girl aged under 16, and appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday for sentence.

Sheriff Douglas Allan placed Henderson and Holmes on three years’ probation and Wright on two-and-a-half years’ probation.

All three were ordered to attend sex offenders’ programmes and have to register as sex offenders throughout their probation. They must allow police to examine their computers at any time.

Sheriff Allan said: “The question of this being made an offence and the fact that there appears to be no defence to it I know is troubling you. It may seem a little unfair to you but the reality is that this girl was not over 16. Her own conduct raises all sorts of questions but they are not for me to deal with in this court.”

The court heard the trio got in touch with the teenage girl between March and August 2006. Their conversations with her became increasingly sexualised, the court heard. All three men denied knowing she was underage. The website is for over-16s only.

Henderson, a baker from Aberdeenshire, had mobile phone conversations with the girl and suggested meeting her for sex. He told police he thought the girl was over 16 because she had a tattoo.

Holmes, of Nottingham, said he presumed she was over 16. Wright, from Crewe, Cheshire, now “greatly regretted” his actions, said his solicitor.

Earlier this year three men were jailed at the High Court in Paisley after admitting sexually abusing the girl.

Gary Wilson, 41, of County Durham, admitted having sex with the girl when she was just 13 after contacting her through Faceparty.

Martin Murray, 36, from Irvine, committed a sex act with her and took explicit pictures of her on his mobile phone and was jailed for two years; Daniel Walker, 33, from Glasgow, who sent messages, was jailed for 18 months.